How product managers can master product process

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– The Product Innovation Charter (PIC) is a short document that provides direction and alignment for a product development project.

– Stage-Gate and Agile Stage-Gate are popular product development processes that manage risk and incorporate Agile elements.

– Jobs-to-be-Done theory focuses on understanding the customer’s underlying needs and the jobs they are trying to accomplish with a product.


In today’s competitive market, creating products that customers love is crucial for the success of any organization. Product managers and innovators play a vital role in delivering value to customers by effectively managing the product innovation process. In this article, we will explore the seven knowledge areas for product mastery. These knowledge areas are based on the Product Development and Management Association’s (PDMA) body of knowledge, which has been curated since 1976.

The Seven Knowledge Areas for Product Mastery

* Product Innovation Management: Maximizing the return from product innovation through application of sound management practices throughout the product life cycle

* Strategy: Provides the context, goals, and direction for product innovation and ongoing product management

* Portfolio Management: Establishes and maintains balance of new and existing product innovation projects aligned with the business strategy

* Process: Provides an approach, which is commonly understood and accepted by the whole organization, for developing new products or improving existing products

* Design & Development: Efficiently and effectively evolve a product from initial idea to a developed, manufactured, and “market-ready” form

* Market Research: Provide market-related information to underpin decision-making in all aspects of strategy development, portfolio management, the product innovation process, and life cycle management

* Culture & Teams: Essential to forming and maintaining an innovative environment that enables, encourages, and rewards product innovation processes and practices.

In this article, we will focus on the New Product Process knowledge area, which covers various product innovation processes and methodologies.

The Product Innovation Charter (PIC)

The PIC is a short document (1-3 pages) that serves as the heart of any organized effort to commercialize a new product. It consists of four sections:

* Background: Provides context for the project, including why the company is pursuing it, the scope, the project team’s role, and any constraints or key technologies involved.

* Focus Arena: Identifies the target market, key technologies, marketing aspects, and competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

* Goals and Objectives: Outlines specific and measurable goals related to the project’s contribution to business strategy, operational goals, and project-specific objectives.

* Special Guidelines: Covers team communication and accountability, reporting requirements, project expenditure responsibilities, external agencies, and product quality or launch constraints.

A helpful acronym to remember these sections is “BAGG” (Background, Arena, Goals, Guidelines). The PIC is a valuable collaboration tool that ensures everyone involved in the project has the same vision and understanding of the product’s purpose, target market, and objectives. Many companies do not start projects with a clear, concise document like the PIC, which can lead to confusion and misalignment among team members and stakeholders.

Product Development Processes

There are numerous product development processes and methodologies covered in the New Products Process knowledge area. Some of the most notable include:

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